Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A SIGHTING AT ARBOR VISTA ...

I have NEVER seen a black squirrel! This one showed up this morning on the porch outside the kitchen to eat sunflower seeds dropped by the little birds who live at the bird feeder. I did some research and found the following from Wikipedia: "As a melanistic variety of the eastern grey squirrel, individual black squirrels can exist wherever grey squirrels live. Grey mating pairs may produce black offspring, and in areas with high concentrations of black squirrels, mixed litters are common.[1] The black subgroup seems to have been dominant throughout North America prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, since their dark colour helped them hide in virgin forests which tended to be very dense and shaded. As time passed, hunting and deforestation led to biological advantages for grey coloured individuals.[2] Today, the black subgroup is particularly abundant in the northern part of the Eastern Grey Squirrel's range.[3][4] This is likely due to the significantly increased cold tolerance of black individuals which lose less heat than greys.[5] Black individuals also enjoy visibility advantages in denser northern forests." The report further states that the black squirrel is quite rare, 1 in 10,000. I think he is just beautiful!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great photo and information. Have you named the little guy? Dee

Vanessa said...

Gorgeous indeed and no doubt knows he's found a safe place.

Interesting adaptation too. Stock (thinking of my Welsh ponies here) originating in the wild but becoming domesticated tends to change colors, the wild camouflage colors becoming less common. They don't disappear so much as go recessive as though waiting in hiding...

jess said...

oh my gosh how beautiful!

(hey)Jude said...

No name yet! Any ideas?
Jess, yes he/she is! Do you have them where you live?

Carol Shoemaker said...

Amazing! Great picture too!

Sue said...

He is beautiful! I haven't seen one in years - we used to have a pair that lived near our Minneapolis home. I think they look so elegant.

Anonymous said...

Wow! A pair of them would be fabulous! How lucky you were!
Jude *